What’s in a name is a question recently raised in my family because my Son is having his first child in four months. While I am so excited about my new Grandchild, I am not wild about the name my Son and his Partner have chosen for the baby’s name. The name itself isn’t so bad, it is the unique spelling of the name that gives it an ambiguous pronunciation. My Son is a Teacher so he should be familiar with how difficult unique names can be for kids. I admit that I am a little sensitive about the subject since I grew up with an unusual name and constantly had to correct people’s pronunciation and spelling of my name and answer their questions about how it was derived. As a result I hated my name growing up and longed to have a name like Connie, Mary or something else easy. In addition to being a unique spelling, the name my Son is proposing is a very ethnic sounding name. So I forwarded the research study to him that Freakonomics published with proof that people with ethnic sounding names are 33% less likely to get an interview from their resumes. I told my Son that if he wanted his child living with him until he is 70 because the kid can’t get a job because of his unique name then go ahead give him that name. No response. Then I sent him an article that was in Time Magazine titled “Is There a Negative Effect on Children with Unique Names”, which detailed incidents of how kids with unique names are likely to get teased by other kids who like to twist, rhyme and change the name into something really embarrassing. This did solicit a response from my Son who basically told me to stop sending him articles and that I was out of touch with what is happening today.
While this may be true, since I am of a certain age, I doubt that things have changed so much that kids with unique names are not still getting teased on the playground or that they don’t have to spend the rest of their lives correcting people’s spelling or pronunciation of their names and answer the questions about, “What were your parents thinking when they gave you that name?”
Although I respect the fact that parents have the right to name their children whatever they wish, hopefully my Son and his Partner will see the light in the four months left before my Grandson makes his entrance into this world. If not there is always bribery.